After watching a horribly depressing movie about the reasons behind the collapse of the U.S. economy called “Inside Job” this morning, I got to thinking about how our computer store could benefit from such tactics. Although extracting $450million a year from a town of less than 10,000 may prove difficult, any sort of journey always starts with just one step. In order for me to pay myself a $100million bonus for resigning from Clear Case Computers some day in the future, I must first start small and fuck over one person at a time, one gigabyte at a time.
First, I must convince you that my computers are the easiest to afford among all the brands available. For just 25 cents to one dollar a day, this $499 computer will be yours in just 15 years (final cost after interest, etc. about $1,850). Never mind that before you’re even 10% of the way paying for this computer you will have already “purchased” another one each for your 2.5 kids. Perhaps your dog or cat will have chewed on the power cord (if it’s a laptop) along the way, which means you’ll have to pay me to either repair the computer or replace a part (at a cost of about 20% of the total value of the computer, of which you’ve only paid 2% of it’s value to this point). Your son has been looking at pornography and your daughter has been downloading what she thought were Justin Bieber songs, and as a result the machine is horribly infected with viruses (Bieber music can be equated to a virus in itself). This means another trip to my store to pay me at least another 20% of the value of the computer which has not been paid for yet.
To enhance profitability, I could order components to build these computers from companies that offer little or no warranties on their hardware. The hard drives are destined to die, the cpu’s destined to overheat, etc. They are betting on the failure of the product so that I’ll have to buy more and charge the customer for an item that should have outlived the term of their loan (which it won’t). Not only are we both making money on the original purchase of the computer, but on the multiple return trips for hardware failures and virus infections. I could even infect them with a virus that won’t even cause symptoms for weeks or months down the road (therefore, how could it be my fault?). I’ll advertise these machines to those people who live in subsidized housing here in town; those who consistently make bad purchasing decisions anyway: ordering pizza more than once a week, souping up their bank-owned cars, owning a credit card…. These are the people enticed by the buck-a-day/rent-to-own concept of computer ownership. Hell, no matter how it turns out, I get paid. Either via credit card or the line of credit that they defaulted on so that they could pay me in-full at the time of purchase. If the computers are repossessed due to default on payment, I can buy the $499 computer for $50 and resell it for $399.
What I’m suggesting is just speeding up the process to put the most money in my pockets. How would that be any different than how people were taken advantage of during the housing bubble? Shit, none of the people responsible were even arrested!
As much as I’d like to go on a field trip to Congress or the Parliament to see the sights and to have my wrists slapped, I’m too honest of a person to do any of the above.
By the way, my printer ink is cheaper than Staples and…